Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Making it do or doing without

 72-hour kits

What is a 72-hour kit?
A 72-hour kit is everything you and your family would need to survive in an emergency.
I live in Florida so for me it is also known as my hurricane kit. In other parts of the country they could be an earthquake kit, a tornado kit, a winter storm kit, or any other kind of disaster you can think of. However, it is a wise idea to have a 72 hour kit year round for any unexpected emergency or disaster.

What should it include?
Well that depends a lot on your family and their needs. But here is what I would recommend at the very minimum.
  • 3 days worth of food and snacks for each family member
  • 3 days worth of water for each family member (the recommendation is generally 1 gallon per person per day, more if there are special needs such as pregnant or nursing mothers and more if you plan to use it for hygeine purposes)
  • First aid supplies(first aid kit, flares, whistles, gloves, etc.)
  • Clothing and bedding. One change of clothing, for both warm and cold temperatures. Blankets, rain coats, etc.
  • Fuel and light. (Flashlights, batteries, lighter, matches, a camp stove if you have one)
  • 3 days of medication (anything you take daily or regularly you will want to have in there)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, feminine hygiene, soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo)
  • Cash (in small bills)
  • Important paper work in a waterproof container (insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, marriage license, wills, deeds, titles, contracts, etc.)
  • Tools (can opener, weather radio, pocket knife, duct tape, pen and paper, axe, shovel, rope)
  • Entertainment (books, crossword puzzles, puzzles, scriptures, etc.)
  • Paper products or mess kits (if you choose mess kits remember dish soap to clean your dishes)
  • Maps (in case you need to evacuate)
So what kind of food should I pack?
  I would only pack things you will know you will eat, but make sure you pack enough to have a balanced diet (and keep in mind that salty foods will make you thirsty). I think the best way to decide what to bring is to plan a menu for your family. Here's a list of good meal ideas to get you thinking.
  • Breakfast- Instant breakfast (shelf stable milk and instant breakfast), oatmeal, granola bars, cereal (dry or with shelf stable milk)
  • Lunch- crackers with peanut butter and jelly, crackers and canned tuna or chicken (find some mayo packets or relish packets and you could have tuna or chicken salad), beef jerky, spam
  • Dinner- Canned soup, Spaghetti-o's, vienna sausage, beenie weenie, baked beans, canned beans, spaghetti and sauce
  • Vegetables and Fruit- Canned veggies and fruit throughout the day with meals. Dried fruit is also an idea.
  • Snacks- protein bars, granola bars, fruit leather, raisins, trail mix, nuts
  • Drinks- water, juice boxes, cider, hot cocoa, tang, shelf stable milk (I would recommend the single serve boxes unless you have enough family members to drink the larger boxes), sports drinks, anything that you won't need to refrigerate
What if I have a baby or pets?
This is where it varies greatly depending on your needs, but again I'll give you some basics to get you going. I'll start with younger babies.
  • Diapers, wipes, creams (make sure you have more than enough)
  • If breastfeeding, anything you need to breastfeed. Pillows, supplements,etc.
  • If formula feeding, 1-2 cans of formula, water, bottles, and supplies to clean bottles.
  • Clothes and blankets (sleepers, receiving blankets, onesies, socks, jackets, etc.)
  • If baby has started solids, baby cereal, jarred foods (based on their typical eating habits)
  • Toys and/or comfort objects
  • Baby Carrier
  • Baby toiletries
For older babies and/or toddlers add the following:
  •  Finger foods, snacks, and meals
  •  Sippy cups
  • Shelf stable milk (if they have started milk), juices
  • Toddler utensils
  • Bibs
If you have pets consider the following:
  • Food for three days
  • Litter for cats
  • Collars, leashes, ids, cages, etc.
  • Vet Records 
  • Any medications (heartworm, flea and tick, special needs)
  • Treats
  • Toys

I hope that helps you get started. One final note is to make sure to check your kit on a regular basis for expired goods or update when the family changes (for example, when kids get older, or when you add a family member or pet). I'll give you a reminder on here every so often to remind you. Next week we will talk start a series on building up food storage.
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